“Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them” (Romans 12:14, NLT).
If I’m honest, this verse is hard to swallow, especially when I’ve been really hurt. My mind doesn’t go, “YAY! Blessings for YOU and YOU and YOU!” like some Oprah give-away. Instead I think, maybe this verse isn’t true for me and my broken heart, but is only true for the Apostle Paul (who happened to do a LOT of persecuting before finding Christ).
This assumption is wrong, however.
We should always pay attention to verses that are hard to render because God might be trying to speak to us through them. And that’s exactly what he’s been doing in Romans 12:14 — a verse I would gladly skim over.
He’s been saying: Jonna, praying for those who hurt you is HOW you gain access to my unlimited resources (Ephesians 3:16).
Wait, what?? I had never thought if it like that before!
After all, I know God’s unlimited resources are available to me always. I don’t need to earn them; they’re a free gift in Jesus! But if I’m 100% focused on my wounds and what I don’t have enough of, I have a more difficult time accepting this gift.
That’s because my involuntary reactions to pain are hardness and anger–NOT peace. I don’t feel loving and forgiving. I feel steamrolled. Beaten. Bruised. Forgotten. And then I feel bitter…which is not God’s way.
God’s ways are higher (Isaiah 55:8-9), which means they are better. So even when I don’t feel like it, I have a choice: I can choose to follow God’s Word, or I can follow my sad and broken heart.
“Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying” (Romans 12:12 NLT).
Following God’s ways means praying for people and speaking life over them EVEN WHEN they have rejected or betrayed us. This is how we gain patience and hope in times of trouble and pain. We counteract our emotional scarcity by operating in the supernatural. So I started trying it out.
I prayed earnest prayers of blessings for the people who confuse, frustrate, and hurt me. I made a conscious choice NOT to conform to the patterns of this world so that my mind and heart could be renewed daily (Romans 12:2).
And do you know what? I started feeling peace! Not always right away, but the more I prayed, the faster I could feel God’s unlimited resources pouring in.
So if you’ve been hurt, too, and don’t always know what to do with your pain…if you’ve been in crisis-mode yet still believe God has enough for you…start praying diligent prayers of blessing over your “enemies”. Never pay back pain with more pain (or apathy, bitterness, or gossip). Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable and peace-filled, and leave the righteous anger to God (Romans 12:17-19 NLT).
- Listen to The Blessing and declare it for yourself AND for someone who has hurt you.
- Read Ephesians 3:16-19 and circle any words that jump out at you. Then ask God to speak to you specifically about any pain you might be feeling and how these verses might help you cope.
- Write out a prayer of blessing for those who have hurt you. Tape it on your mirror and memorize it. Then say it anytime you are struggling with pain or unforgiveness.
Jonna Meidal is a mother to three wild and zany daughters and a wife to the funniest man on the planet. She is a writer, educator, birth doula, and travel junkie who can’t get through the day without Jesus and popcorn. You can read more of what she’s been up to at jonnameidal.com or follow her adventures on Instagram @jonnameidal.